grants Advisory Board

The Freshpet® Foundation Grants Advisory Board is comprised of pet industry experts in the areas of nutrition, clinical research, oncology and disease treatment. This independent group is responsible for determining how to best allocate foundation dollars to the most appropriate research. Advisory board officers do not receive any compensation for their contributions.

The Grants Advisory Board

              John Phelps
              Dr. David A. Dzanis
              Dr. Iain Grant

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Dr Phelps

john phelps

After graduating from the University of British Columbia in 1985, John worked in the pet industry in a variety of areas, mainly quality assurance, nutrition, ingredient science, and new product development. Moving geographically in a variety of positions John also received his graduate degree jointly from Western and the Keio Graduate School in 1991. From the early 1990's on, John continued to work in pet care in Canada, the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa.

After his first 10 years in the pet industry, John became an advocate and supporter for technical initiatives that improve regulation and ingredient quality. John has also been a strong supporter and the promoter of low impact food processing for animal nutrition.

John is currently active in the food science area with the Grey Matters Society, which is a food science group investigating nutritional solutions for cancer prevention in humans. John's duties at the Foundation include evaluating proposals for grants and assisting in the organization of the advisory board and the various stakeholders in both University and industry.


Dr. David A. Dzanis

dr. david A. dzanis

Dr. Dzanis is a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and consultant for pet food and related industries.  He received his D.V.M. from Purdue University in 1982, after which he worked in a mixed-animal practice in Massachusetts for several years.  He returned to academia and completed his Ph.D. in veterinary medicine, veterinary physiology and nutrition from Cornell University in 1989.  He became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition in 1990.

Prior to forming his own consulting business, Dr. Dzanis served for eight years with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he had scientific oversight of all pet food labeling and nutrition matters.  His duties while at the FDA included chairmanship of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) subcommittees that developed the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles and feeding trial protocols that are used to substantiate nutritional adequacy of all dog and cat foods in the US.

Other activities have included participation in two National Research Council (NRC) committees relating to the nutritional needs of dogs and cats.  He has served as Chair of the Board of Regents for the American College of Veterinary Nutrition as well as President of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition.  He presently is an Adjunct Professor in the Regulatory Science Program at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, and is a Contributing Editor for Petfood Industry magazine.  He has written numerous book chapters and journal articles and given many presentations to industry, veterinary, and groups on a wide variety of topics relating to pet nutrition.


Dr Iain

dr. iain grant

After graduating from The University of Bristol, UK in 1990 with a Bachelor's of Veterinary Science, Dr. Grant worked for 4 years in England in rural mixed practice. He moved to New Zealand in 1995 where he worked principally in small animal practice and co-owned a small pet hospital in Auckland. With an interest in media and communications, Iain was a regular presenter on national radio and television with lively phone-in discussions every week focused on all aspects of pet care.

During 2000 he was employed part time as a zoo veterinarian in Wellington, New Zealand. In 2002 Iain completed a Post-Graduate Diploma at the The University of Otago, New Zealand in natural history filmmaking and communication and was involved in the production of a number of documentaries for Animal Planet, The Discovery Channel and The National Geographic Channel. Following this he worked as a nutritional advisor and communications manager for a global pet nutrition company based in Sydney, Australia.

In 2004, Iain moved to the USA to complete a 3 year residency program in veterinary oncology at The University of California (Davis) and Ohio State University studying all aspects of cancer treatment for companion animals. During this time he gained an insight into comparative research in the field of human cancer and received an award from The Veterinary Cancer Society for research into a novel chemotherapy agent for use in dogs. In 2007, he gained Diplomat status at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in the specialty of veterinary medical oncology. This led him to take up his current position as a clinical instructor in the oncology division at the University of Liverpool Small Animal Teaching Hospital, based in the beautiful northwest of England. His interests are in the use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to manage tumors in companion animals, the influence of obesity on the safe dosing of chemotherapy agents to dogs and clinical aspects of histiocytic sarcoma in affected canine patients. He also enjoys teaching veterinary students and mentoring residents and interns.


The Grants Advisory Board has full autonomy to evaluate and deploy grants
to research deemed appropriate by the majority of members.